Arizona State University has sparked quite a debate with one of its new English classes being offered this semester. The controversial class titled, “Eng. 401 ‘Studies in American Literature/Culture: U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness,'” reportedly touches on the “problem of whiteness” in America.
Although the class syllabus is currently unavailable online, it has been reported that the reading list for the class includes Everyday Language of White Racism and The Possessive Investment in Whiteness. The books discuss the “problem of whiteness” by shedding light on public policy and private prejudice practices that allegedly insure white prosperity in society. According to Talking Points Memo, Campus Reform reporter Lauren Clark shared details about the reading list for the class on Fox & Friends.
“All of these books have a disturbing trend and that’s pointing to all white people as the root cause of social injustices for this country.”
Needless to say, the class has sparked quite a debate, and Fox News has had no reservations about voicing concerns about the reading material and topics of discussion the university has allowed the professor to teach. During a recent discussion, Clark spoke with Elisabeth Hasselback about the class on Fox & Friends.
Hasselback made it quite clear just how much she disapproves of the controversial “problem of whiteness” class. She argued a different perspective by hypothetically renaming the class “Problem with Blackness” or “The Problem with Being Female.” She cited how such classes would never be considered acceptable. So she wonders why the “problem of whiteness” class is.
“The description of ‘The Problem of Whiteness’ course, I want to let everybody know, it says this. It’s a little wordy here, but it’s ‘The post-colonialist, psychoanalytic, deconstructionist, feminist, new historicist.’ I mean, once you get through that, maybe that will tell you what the class is about.”
Of course, those at Fox News aren’t the only ones outraged by the class. Many readers have voiced their opinions on several news sites and social media platforms. Needless to say, many aren’t pleased with the “problem of whiteness” material being taught in the class. But, of course, the overall debate is directly related to the problems with racism in society.
“Unbelievable. And people r actually paying money for this class? All they have to do is turn on any news station to get a free dose of reverse discrimination.”
“What an impressive range of diverse opinions Fox gives us, from the two blondes in red blouses. The problem with whiteness is right there in the picture.”
“You have to see the history where minorities were denied pride, and where white pride was equated with superiority?… so what… whose fault was it that the Africans violence was no match for the Europeans violence?…why should modern day whites be punished because human nature is flawed…?”
According to AZ-Central, Professor Lee Bebout revealed he has received lots of flack for teaching the class. In an email, the assistant English professor said he has received hate mail from lots of people who disapprove of the class. He also revealed how stressful and overwhelming the response has been over the past couple days.
“The last 24 hours have been stressful with some of the vitriolic hate-mail that I have received.”
The university also issued a statement defending the nature of the class.
“This course uses literature and rhetoric to look at how stories shape people’s understandings and experiences of race. It encourages students to examine how people talk about – or avoid talking about – race in the contemporary United States. This is an interdisciplinary course, so students will draw on history, literature, speeches and cultural changes – from scholarly texts to humor. The class is designed to empower students to confront the difficult and often thorny issues that surround us today and reach thoughtful conclusions rather than display gut reactions. A university is an academic environment where we discuss and debate a wide array of viewpoints.”
What do you think about the “problem of whiteness” class? Share your thoughts.
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